San Miguel de Allende

A Trip....

We went on a little trip yesterday - a fundraiser for Casita Linda, organization in San Miguel that builds houses for homeless families.  The event - a Folk & Blues Festival - took place in one of the most unique homes anywhere.  Ranchito Cascabel began as a simple project by Tim Sullivan but grew into something much grander.  He says his inspiration was the work of Antoni Gaudi of Barcelona.  More than one attendee could be heard making comments like, "Looks like it was designed by someone reading Alice in Wonderland on LSD. "

The serpentine theme plays throughout, as it send water from the roof to the gardens below, the laundry room door is a world of bubbles.  And beyond the fantastical house, and the cactus farm was a wonderful pavilion filled with oldies but goodies enjoying the music and memories.

Flores. . .

In two day it will be Candelaria and Parque Juarez will be transformed into a grand open air flower market.  In the early morning hours the transformation begins with endless wheelbarrels of stones, flowers and eathern pots being moved from every trucks parked along the perifery to inner paths along the now dry river bed.  It is slow and hard work that ends in beauty....

Jardin Soundscape


The Jardin is the center of life in San Miguel.  The Gazebo in the center is where Christmas creches and statues of Ingacio de Allende have their moment, and when it has passed young break dancers and older tango enthusiasts take the stage.  Food carts line one and sometimes two sides along with the men selling balloons, balls and other treats young children love.  The benches are filled with an ever changing cast of characters exchanging news, gossip or just enjoying the sun.

 It is a scene so rich in color and story that it not easy to tune into the soundscape of this lively environment. But every now and then, I will take a seat in the shade and try. To free my ears to really listen and absorb the soundscape rhythms, my eyes can never leave the ipod solitaire game.


To find my radio ears
my eyes must go on lockdown.
Confined to shifting patterns of
red and black
spades and hearts.

Looking like an aloof gringa
lost in my apple land,
the soundscape begins-

Guitar strumming fades
to the rise and fall of the newspaper seller's call.
Sweet humming of the Mariachi man lost in thought
unaware he his making music.

Staccato jack hammering fill the air,
then gives way to trumpet scales that resonate
with the laughter and conversation snippets in
Jardin idiomas: Spanish, English & Otomi.

Deflating balloon swan song
follows the squeaking cart wheels.
The "oye oye oye" cry of the toy seller
takes the next measure.

And on and on it goes
allegro, adagio scherzo coda.....


Things Go Better With Coke

On the first Friday in March is the Feast of the Conquistatdors.  This festival celebrates the acceptance of Catholicism by Mexico's indigenous people with 33 dances, one for each year of the life of Christ, as well as special masses, incense, and the carrying of ancient cornhusk statues of Christ around the Jardin.  The church very successfully co-opted the traditional early March festival that marked the beginning of the planting season.

Around the corner from our house, the street was filled with Dancers getting ready for the day long celebration of dancing in the Jardin.  Little girls walking with pride - their first time as dancers....feathers everywhere...

To see a slideshow of pictures of the day, click on the picture above. Be patient - it takes a second to load...


Carnaval came to San Miguel this weekend. The holiday merrymaking before Lent begins is celebrated with gorgeous paper flowers and thousands of confetti filled eggs. Children of all ages run through the Jardin breaking them on each other’s heads, as well as on gringo photographers… The squeals of laughter are punctuated with the sounds of tango music as the old timers dance all around the gazebo.


The Jardin Gazebo

The gazebo in the Jardin is seldom empty.  The creche from Christmas was replaced by a statue of Ignacio Allende, but now that his birthday has passed, the statue has gone to where ever it lives the other 50 weeks a year, and the youthful breakdancer of San Miguel have made it their stage.


 I think we saw this guy hurt his wrist the night before, but it obviously has no deterrent value.

Zumba amongst the flowerpots...

The celebration of Candelaria begins this weekend with Parque Juarez filled with flower vendors from all over Mexico.  Early this morning many were still setting up. But more than a few took a long break to enjoy the zumba class taking place in what is normally the basketball court.  For this two week celebration the area becomes a stage surrounded by the “maceta” or flower pot vendors.  

Zumba is very popular in Mexico.  Over 100 people, young and old, male and female, Mexican & gringo were up and dancing at this 8:00am Sunday morning class.

Whistles and Wails on Reloj

Most mornings, on my first break in Spanish School, I hotfoot it down to Reloj to La Comela, better known as the Blue Door Bakery to get a cinammon roll.  Along with caffeine it keeps my brain going.

As I approached the corner this morning there was a racket-  whoops, whistles, cries of “eeieee  eeiyee” and sirens.  I arrived in time to see about a 100 school kids on bikes careening down the street on bicycles with what I am assuming were parents and teachers running along side, shouting encouragement. There was also a police escort with sirens wailing.

The tail end of the group were the youngest kids who clearly were finding the it a challenge to keep their balance on the cobbles. You just never know what you find on your 10 minute study break…..

Yes I can....

I walked out of a gathering in a coffeehouse at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon to a most unexpected winter event - rain, or more accurately a sprinkle from an errant cloud.  The sun shone while the stray raindrops fell, not living long enough to fill the many indentations on San Miguel sidewalks.

Music surrounded the Jardin and a crowd gathered to watch people dancing in Halloween type costumes to a Spanish "rap cha cha cha" sort of music.  They are known as Los Locos. Then the drums started beating on the other side of the square and 25-30 people in indigenous dress started dancing.  This little girl was determined to learn  the dance....